Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Being Flynn

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for adult situations, language, nudity, and sex
Profanity:Constant very strong and explicit language
Nudity/Sex:Very explicit sexual references and situations, nudity
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking, drugs, substance abuse
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie, character makes bigoted remarks
Movie Release Date:March 9, 2012

Nick Flynn was working at a Boston homeless shelter when his father, Jonathan Flynn, came in looking for a place to stay. Nick was raised by his mother and had little contact with his father except for some letters explaining that he would soon be recognized as one of the three greatest writers in American history. Nick Flynn’s memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, has been adapted for the screen by director Paul Weitz, whose films often explore the relationships between fathers and sons (“About a Boy,” “In Good Company,” “American Pie”).

Paul Dano plays Nick, a young man who has some good instincts and some talent.  He is worse than directionless — he is stuck.  His mother (Julianne Moore) has died and he has no place to go.  He moves into a strip club-turned apartment that is barely more than a squat, selected over the other candidates because he has no family who might come in for an extended stay.  He takes the job at the homeless shelter because it is the first opportunity he hears of.  He is not unsympathetic but he is distant and untrained.  When a resident needs a new pair of pants Nick turns to one of the more experienced aides to ask what size.  The aide says simply, “Ask him.”  Nick begins to see — as we do — the artificiality of the denial-based distance we maintain from people we think might ask more from us than we can give or might make us think about how fragile our support system can be.  When his father (Robert De Niro) shows up in the line of people needing a bed, Nick has so many conflicting feelings he has to go numb — on his own and with some chemical assistance.  He wants to love his father and he wants his father to love him.  He wants to care for him but is afraid of not being able to — we learn more about why later in the story.  He is not prepared to acknowledge how much he wants to be like his father (in following his dream of being a writer) and does not want to be like him (unable to finish his story).  We hear their competing versions of the story but we know, as Nick does, that both are coming from him.

De Niro has one of his best roles as a man wavering between fierce pride and grandiosity.  Jonathan is a man of large gestures and unspeakably selfish behavior. De Niro keeps him human without compromising by trying to make him more sympathetic.  Ultimately, it is Jonathan’s lack of empathy that allows him to finally if briefly provide fatherly support and guidance in telling Nick an important truth that frees him from the past and provides direction for the future.

Parents should know that this film includes constant very strong and crude language, bigoted comments, explicit sexual references and situations, substance abuse including alcohol and drugs, and brief nudity.

Family discussion: What did Nick learn from working in the shelter?  From Denise?  What or who does the title refer to?

If you like this, try: “Joe Gould’s Secret” and the memoir by Nick Flynn

 



Previous Posts

Trailer #2: The Box Trolls
Did I mention how excited I am about this?  Coming in September, from the people who did "Coraline" and "ParaNorman." [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDr_ZY37RFg[/youtube]

posted 12:12:22pm Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Heaven is for Real
A movie like "Heaven is for Real" requires two different reviews, one for believers/fans of the 1.5 million-volume best-selling book, one for those who are unfamiliar with the book and whose views about faith and heaven and proof may differ from the evangelical beliefs of the Wesleyan pastor who wro

posted 6:00:04pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Heaven is for Real: The Real Story
"Heaven is for Real" opens tomorrow, with Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo, a Nebraska pastor whose four-year-old son says that he visited heaven during surgery for a ruptured appendix.  It is based on a best-selling book Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back,

posted 3:59:56pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Movie Critic Ann Hornaday Comes Out as...a Christian
Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday wrote a brave and very moving essay about being a writer sustained by Christian faith and how that affects the way she approaches all films and especially those with religious themes. As a critic, my first obligation is to assess each of these films not as

posted 3:59:22pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Gone Girl with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike
Take a look at the very creepy trailer from director David Fincher for the upcoming "Gone Girl" based on the best-seller by Gillian Flynn. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esGn-xKFZdU[/youtube]

posted 2:33:38pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.